There was a time, after my sister’s revelation that Santa didn’t exist and that there was in fact nothing magical about Christmas, when this time of year only ever felt disappointing. I don’t think I really believed in any of it – only in my parents’ ability to stage things properly. It wasn’t what my sister said as much as how my mother replied that did the damage: she said my sister was right, looked sad, things never felt even vaguely similar again … and in some way related to this kind of thing I ended up writing novels.
        If you’re going to attack a myth maybe you need to find another way of saying an element of what’s involved in it, or you can stop life, at least a certain kind of pleasure in life, dead in its tracks.There’s something wonderful about that theatrical phrase: the show must go on. Something has to go on: the ‘showbiz’ part of an illusion, but with a lie dropped out. Do I need to be an atheist, for example? I think I’d rather find some other way of not believing in God without losing the message that I need to be in awe of the unknown and to acknowledge most things are beyond my control. I need to understand how I can relate to people, to events, without being coercive, and to know that in some way I inevitably will be. The only thing that night help me when that happens is for someone else to point it out.
        These days I love Christmas. It can feel magical because it reminds me of the the things in my life which are so special I could never have bought them, or ‘got’ them, especially my relationships with the people I love, and who love me.

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